They rushed in as soon as enough of the thick ice was melted away. David got to her first, followed swiftly by Henry.
“Emma, thank god. You’re alright,” David gasped out as he wrapped his arms around her. Emma nodded wearily against his shoulder and pulled Henry into the hug, reveling in their warmth as they escorted her out of the melting cavern. On either side of them were Snow and Hook, and when they were through to the other side she could see what looked to be nearly the whole the town waiting.
“It’s good to see you, kid,” she muttered into the top of Henry’s head. She pulled back a little to smile at David, but he wasn’t looking at her, focusing instead on the woman who trailed behind them.
Elsa, who’d been practically holding Emma up as she melted the ice, had pulled back when everyone rushed in. Now she lingered just inside the ice, watching the others warily as she nervously ran one thumb over the palm of the other hand over and over again.
Emma quickly grabbed David’s forearm when he made a move to walk toward her.
“David,” she said firmly. “It wasn’t her fault.” Behind her Hook made a noise of disbelief. “Okay, it sort of was, but just trust me when I tell you to leave it alone for now, okay?” The last word came out as a stutter as Emma started to shiver and David immediately looked down at her in concern.
“Here, love, this’ll help.” Hook murmured behind her, and there was a sudden weight around her shoulders as he wrapped his leather coat around them. Emma smiled softly at him in thanks as she pulled it tighter around her, still shivering.
“We need to get you home,” Snow said firmly.
Emma nodded. “In just a minute.” Without waiting for a reply she turned around and walked back to Elsa, quickly grabbing her hands. They were like ice, and a layer of frost spread across Emma’s skin, but she held on, meeting the other woman’s eyes firmly. “We’ll help you find your sister,” she said softly. “I promise. We all know what it is like to lose family here.”
Slowly, Elsa nodded. “Okay,” she muttered, and it seemed to Emma that some of the cold retreated from her hands.
Emma flashed her a tired smile and let go, making her way back to the others. “Let’s go home now,” she sighed, wrapping one arm around Henry. “I don’t know about anyone else, but I could use some hot chocolate.”
They walked slowly to David’s truck, stopping only for Emma to talk to Ruby about setting up a room for Elsa. David cranked up the heat as soon they started to pile in, Snow in the passenger seat and Emma and Henry sliding across the bucket seat in the back. Hook hesitated outside the car door.
“Are you coming or what?” Emma stuttered out. Hook’s eyes shot up to hers in surprise. “The way I see it,” she continued, “nearly freezing to death is the perfect excuse to do nothing but sit at home and watch Netflix.”
A slow smile spread across his lips at the familiar word. “Aye. I think you’re right at that,” he said before he swung himself up and into the car.
Emma caught her parents sharing a pointed glance in the front seat, but they didn’t say anything, which was just fine with her. Nearly dying may have put some things into perspective, but she would appreciate saving the conversations for later. Though she had no doubt that if Henry had his way, he would be the first one to bring it all up to her.
The shivering got worse during the drive home. She wrapped Hook’s coat around her as tight as she could, hands tucked under her arms. David turned the heat up as high as he could and Henry wrapped his scarf around her, but didn’t help. Her entire body was unable to stop shaking as it adjusted to the warmer temperature, and by the time they reached the apartment it was to the point where David and Hook had to practically carry her up the stairs. Snow immediately helped her to her room so she could change into warm pajamas, and then wrapped her in blanket after blanket before letting her go back downstairs.
David and Henry were already ladling hot chocolate into mugs when she came down. Hook was leaning against the kitchen counter, a slight look of befuddlement on his face as he sipped from his mug.
“This is far too sweet to be chocolate,” he muttered.
David looked up the large sauce pan he was stirring. “That’s because it’s mostly sugar.”
Hook made a face at the cup. “I don’t understand the food you people eat in this world.”
“You should have heard him complain about the bologna,” she said laughingly as she walked to the counter.
“I stand by my assertion that that was not food of any sort.”
“Wait till you try Spam,” she told him. “Or tofu. Here.” She held out his coat to him, goose bumps appearing on her exposed wrist as she did so. “Thank you,” she said softly.
He put down his mug and took the coat from her, casually throwing it over his forearm as he reached out and gently pulled the sleeve of her flannel pajama top down to cover her wrist. “It was my pleasure, love,” he murmured. “I’m just glad you’re alright.” He curled his hand around her upper arm, rubbing up and down as if trying to warm her up.
“Well, I am,” she muttered. She was at a loss for anything else to say and suddenly aware of how little space was between and how they were surrounded by her parents and her son. She took a step back, grateful that her cheeks were already too red from the cold for anyone to detect the slight flush she felt on her face. “I want cinnamon in mine, please,” she told Henry.
He pushed a brightly colored mug across the counter to her. “Duh, Mom.”
Tightening her hold on the blankets with one hand she reached out and picked up the hot chocolate with the other. She avoided everyone’s eyes as she made her way to the couch. “Mmm…” she hummed as she cupped both of her cold hands against the hot ceramic. “That feels nice.”
Henry plopped down on the couch beside her. “Are you actually going to drink it or just use it as a heat source?”
Emma kept her eyes closed as she savored the heat. “We’ll see.”
“So what are we watching tonight?” David asked. His voice came from the chair beside the couch and Emma opened her eyes, watching as Snow took the other available chair.
Emma stiffened slightly as Hook sat down beside her on the couch. She tried to catch Snow’s eye, but now both her parents were studiously ignoring her, staring at the TV screen as if deeply involved in their choice of movie.
“Don’t ask me, mate.” Hook shifted on the couch so was leaning against the side of the couch, the arm with hook resting lightly on the armrest. “I still don’t even know what this Netflix thing is.”
“Just wait,” Henry told him. “You’ll love it.” He turned to Emma. “What do you think, Mom?”
Emma leaned back against the couch, pulling her legs up and tucking her feet under the blankets. “I don’t care. You choose.” She took a sip of her hot chocolate and closed her eyes again. The little bit of energy that kept her going until she got home was gone, and now it was a fight to keep them open. So she just lay her head back against the cushions and let the sounds of the movie and the conversations in the room wash over her.
Emma blearily opened her eyes. Someone had turned the lamps off, the only light coming from across the room where the TV was softly playing a movie. She stretched her arms lightly and realized at some point she must have tucked most of the blankets under her arms. Instead Hook’s jacket was once more laying across her shoulders.
Speaking of Hook.
Emma sat up, shooting her human pillow an apologetic glance. “Sorry,” she mumbled.
Hook grinned back at her. “I’m not complaining.”
She ignored his comment as she looked around the room. Henry wasn’t on the couch and both chairs were empty.
Hook noticed her glance. “They all went to bed about an hour ago,” he said helpfully. “But you looked so comfortable; nobody had the heart to wake you.”
“And I’m sure you readily volunteered to be the one to look after me.”
Hook shrugged one shoulder. “Can’t deny it.”
She glanced back at the TV, her brows furrowing. “You’re watching Hook?”
He chuckled. “The lad’s idea. He thought it was funny that this…version of me in your world sports long curly hair and an oiled mustache. Personally, I’m more bothered by the relationship between him and Smee.” He grimaced.
Emma started to laugh but ended up yawning instead. It couldn’t have been more than a few hours since they got home and she was still tired.
“You need more sleep.” Hook’s voice was gentle as he spoke, and in the flickering light from the television she could see his eyes as they roamed over her face, as if he were both checking her over and memorizing her features. He’d been doing that all night, and she thought about how it must have been hard for him, letting David and Henry get to her first, letting her keep the distance between while her family was around her. He must have thought she was going to die today—hell she thought she was going to die today. And while she did she couldn’t help but think about on what he said about taking in the quiet moments.
Smiling softly, he reached up and gently tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ears. “Maybe you should go up to your bed.”
Now was a quiet moment.
She caught his hand before he could pull back, and he sucked in a surprised breath when she pressed his palm against her cheek. “I’m fine where I am,” she whispered and leaned in.
His hand moved to the back of her neck, tangling in her hair as they kissed. It was soft, and slow and exactly what Emma had wanted since Hook had first placed his leather coat around her earlier that evening. As their lips moved lazily against each other she couldn’t help the small hum of satisfaction that came from her throat. Hook tightened his hand at the sound, his other arm wrapping around her and pulling her in as he deepened the kiss.
After a while she pulled back, smiling sleepily at him. His own, returning smile turned into a chuckle as she broke into a yawn again. “I think you really do need to go to sleep, love.”
She nodded, turning slightly so she could resume her previous position: stretched out across the couch, head on his chest. He let out a breath as she tucked her left arm around his wasted. “How do you like Netflix?” she asked him sleepily.
Hook shifted so she would be more comfortable, his right arm hesitantly wrapping around her shoulders, hand tracing lightly against her upper arm. “It’s…a wonder,” he murmured, voice awed.
Emma could do little more than hum in reply, nearly asleep already. She had meant what she told him: she was perfectly fine where she was, and unworried about everything else. Regina, Elsa, the conversations she was going to have to have with her parents and with Henry… all of it ceased to matter for the moment and she was content.
She was warm.